On day 23 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs two teams have come within one win of reaching their respective Conference Finals. In a night full of offense….and maybe a lick or two…Tampa Bay found a way to win their third straight while the hottest expansion team in sports stood tall with their MVP goaltender.
Here’s how it went down:
Tampa Bay 4-3 Boston-OT
Tampa Bay leads series 3-1
Any type of goal is a good one in OT.
— NHL (@NHL) May 5, 2018
The Tampa Bay Lightning out shot the Bruins 104-73 through the first three games of the series and have kept the pressure up throughout. Tuukka Rask was the one solid piece that had kept the Bruins in the series.
Boston seemed to be equalling Tampa Bay’s pressure early, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Lightning from taking the early lead.
Brayden Point used his speed to steal the puck in the neutral zone and skate his way through both Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy on his way to making a move around Rask, scoring his third of the playoffs.
The Lightning would add to their lead less than five minutes later. After two consecutive Bruins’ penalties, Tampa Bay would score on the powerplay. Nikita Kucherov would score his sixth of the playoffs one-timing a pass from Victor Hedman past Rask for the 2-0 lead.
With a powerplay of their own, Boston would cut the lead in half. Torey Krug would blast a shot from the point and it would deflect in the air and to the right of Andrei Vasilevskiy where David Pastrnak was waiting to clean up the rebound and make it a 2-1 game with under four minutes left.
The Bruins controlled the pace of play in the second and would tie the game in the period.
Tyler Johnson took a tripping penalty 43 seconds into the second. On the man-advantage Patrice Bergeron buried his fifth of the playoffs, down low in the slot to tie the game at two.
Boston’s special team’s units were producing all night. While short-handed Brad Marchand took the puck from his own zone and skated up ice and threw the puck on net. Patrice Bergeron skated up in front of the net and tipped it past Vasilevskiy for his second of the game and a 3-2 Bruins lead.
Tampa Bay tied things up with seven minutes left. On a questionable play where it looked like Nikita Kucherov pulled Charlie McAvoy down with one arm, behind the Bruins’ net, the Lightning were able to capitalize.
On the questionable play, JT Miller took the puck up the side boards and made a pass into the slot where Steven Stamkos one-timed a shot past Rask, for his third of the playoffs and his second of the series. The Captain’s goal was enough to send the game into OT.
Captain @RealStamkos91 to the rescue.
— NHL (@NHL) May 5, 2018
A little over three minutes into the OT period, Dan Girardi became the hero for Tampa Bay. Giradi set up down low in front of Tuukka Rask and deflected the puck that was thrown on net by Alex Killorn for the game winner, giving Tampa Bay a 3-1 strangle hold on the series.
The Lightning were finally outshot by the Bruins and for the first time in the series, held to under 30 shots. However, they never stopped fighting and it’s starting to look like their speed may be too much for Boston.
In side news, Brad Marchand was up to his usual antics as replays found him getting a little too close with Ryan Callahan. It appeared as though Marchand licked Callahan’s face after the whistle, following some aggressive hits were thrown. Torey Krug also left the game after going into boards hard, feet first. The injury did not look good and Krug did not return.
Tampa Bay can knock Boston out of the playoffs and move onto the Eastern Conference Final on Sunday at 1 p.m. MT from Amalie Arena.
San Jose 3-5 Vegas
Vegas leads series 3-2
— NHL (@NHL) May 5, 2018
In a series that has gone back and fourth from the start, this has turned out to be one of the more exciting series with both teams generating a total of 348 shots and two of the four previous games going into overtime.
Vegas made some line-up changes coming into Game 5, playing some players who hadn’t played yet in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Luca Sbisa drew in for John Merrill, while Oscar Lindberg got the nod over Tomas Nosek. Tomas Tatar was injured and replaced with Ryan Carpenter.
Things started out fast and physical with both teams flying around and throwing bodies in the opening few minutes.
It took until three seconds left in the first period, but Vegas scored the opening goal of the game. David Perron patiently moved the up the side-wall and made the pass to Shea Theodore who one-timed the puck on net. Erik Haula was set up in front of the net and the puck deflected off him to a wide-open James Neal who buried the rebound for his third of the playoffs.
After Tomas Hertl took an interference penalty Vegas took to the powerplay and Alex Tuch scored his third of the playoffs. Tuch parked his big frame in front of the net and batted in the rebound on a shot blasted on net from Reilly Smith.
The Golden Knights would add a third goal four minutes later. David Perron skated up ice and rocketed a pass to Erik Haula, just missing him. The pass banked off the corner boards and Haula threw the bouncing puck on net on a sharp angle, finding it’s way through Martin Jones for a 3-0 lead.
Vegas would make it 4-0 with Alex Tuch scoring his second of the game off a beautiful saucer pass by Cody Eakin. The goal would chase Martin Jones to the bench after allowing four goals on 31 shots. He was replace by Aaron Dell
The Sharks did spoil the shut-out for Marc-Andre Fleury with Kevin Lebanc roofing one over the glove of Fleury on the powerplay to make it 4-1. Less than two minutes later Tomas Hertl would make it a two-goal game netting his sixth of the playoffs.
The Sharks took one step closer to the come-back crashing the net and through a crowd of bodies Mikkel Boedker scoring his first of the playoffs and the third unanswered goal for San Jose, cutting the lead to 4-3 for Vegas.
Jonathan Marchessault would add an empty net goal to seal the deal for Vegas, delivering a 3-2 series lead.
Marc-Andre Fleury gave another MVP-like performance making XX saves on XX shots including some stops that were simply out of this world. He continues to be a massive part of the Golden Knight’s success as they continue this deep run into the playoffs and now find themselves one win away from the Western Conference Final.
🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌@nabber03 channeling his inner 🌸
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) May 5, 2018
The Golden Knights controlled a majority of this game but San Jose was able to fight back scoring three unanswered goals and almost completed the come-back. Vegas out-shot San Jose but the Sharks had scoring chance after scoring chance turned away by Marc-Andre Fleury. Despite giving up three late goals “The Flower” stood tall when his team needed it most.
Vegas has an opportunity to eliminate the Sharks and move onto the Western Conference Final Sunday at 5:30 MT from SAP Arena in San Jose.